Injuries: Cerebral Palsy, Spastic Quadriplegia, Mental Retardation, Asthma, Nonverbal, Wheelchair-Bound, Deficits in Gross and Fine Motor Skills
Facts and Claim of Liability:
Infant plaintiff was born on November 9, 2004 at Defendant Hospital Mount Sinai Hospital at 25 weeks gestation via emergency caesarian section. He weighed 8 lbs 2 oz at birth.
Prior to giving birth, plaintiff mother had an uneventful pregnancy. She had no prenatal surgery, significant injuries or other illnesses; nor did she have blood changes. She also tested negative for Group B streptococcus (GBS) and urinary tract infection (UTI).
On the day of delivery at around 5:00 a.m., plaintiff mother was at home when she began experiencing labor pains. At around 3:00 p.m., her water broke. Plaintiff mother first went to the prenatal clinic where she had all of her prenatal appointments, but they told her to go to defendant hospital because she was ready to deliver.
About an hour later, plaintiff mother arrived at defendant hospital. She was admitted and examined, and a fetal heart rate monitor was placed on her stomach. She was told that she was not dilated enough. Hospital staff continued to monitor her, and eventually administered Pitocin. Plaintiff mother recalls asking hospital staff for a caesarian section (as she had had to have caesarian sections with prior pregnancies), but they told her that they would try to deliver the baby vaginally. When hospital staff finally encouraged plaintiff to push, plaintiff mother recalls that she was in too much pain to do so. Around this time, the fetal heart rate monitor revealed that the baby was in distress, and hospital staff told plaintiff mother that they now had to do an emergency caesarian section. Eventually, at 2:45 a.m., infant plaintiff was born when he was pulled out with forceps. Almost immediately after, he was intubated and rushed to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), where he experienced seizures.
When infant plaintiff was twelve days old, he was discharged from defendant hospital. Plaintiff mother was given Phenobarbital to administer to infant plaintiff.
In June of 2005, an MRI revealed significant cortical and basal ganglia damage.
Ultimately, infant plaintiff was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, spastic quadriplegia, mental retardation, and asthma. Currently, he is nonverbal and wheelchair-bound. He is able to eat only mashed and pureed foods. Although he is aware of his environment, he can only communicate via eye gazes and head gestures. He has limitations in both gross and fine motor skills. He wears a bilateral ankle foot arthrosis (AFO) to assist with standing and maximal assisted walking. He also wears braces from his chest to his feet.
Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald filed suit in Bronx County Supreme Court, arguing that defendant hospital staff and defendant hospital departed from good and accepted medical practice in the care of infant plaintiff in failing to diagnose arrest of labor, administering Pitocin when it was contraindicated, failing to stop the Pitocin when there was evidence of a non-reassuring fetal heart rate, and using vacuum extraction. Ultimately, Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald settled with defendants for a total of $5,000,000.00.